The Best Protein Sources (updated July 2019)

What’s the Hype About Protein?

image @ www.img.webmd.com

In short, protein helps build muscles. Muscle fibers are made of protein, so incorporating more protein into the diet is essential. Typically, the amount of protein needed ranges from 0.8 – 1.2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. Obviously, men need more and women need less. However, the amount needed is also based on an individual’s goals. If you’re looking to significantly increase muscle mass, then you should ingest more protein than someone looking to maintain their muscle mass.

However, protein is also one of those macronutrients that should stay relatively consistent. If your protein intake drops too low, the body does not have enough amino acids to efficiently maintain your current muscle mass. If this happens, no matter how efficiently you are training, your muscle size will decrease. So no matter what, make sure you’re getting in an adequate amount of protein.

Some Restrictions

Now, how you get this protein varies due to a few circumstances:

  1. Dietary Restrictions. If you’re allergic to fish, for example, you’re not getting your protein from tilapia.
  2. Taste Preference. If you don’t like tilapia, then don’t eat tilapia. No one is forcing you to eat something you dislike for the sake of muscular growth!
  3. Monetary Restrictions. Some people can afford nicer whole protein sources than others, and that’s just the cold hard truth. If you can only afford chicken breast and tilapia and maybe some steak when it’s on sale, then do that. No one protein source is better than the other in vitro.
  4. Seasonal Restrictions. Maybe you’re a seasonal shopper, and your favorite fishes aren’t currently in season. It’s okay, there’s always alternates!
  5. Locational Restrictions. Some areas have some food that others don’t, and that’s just how things are. If you love a food but it’s not in your area, then don’t sweat about it. Get it when you can, don’t get it when you can’t. Besides, it’ll be a lot more special when you finally get it again, anyway!

The Best of Each Protein

There are several different types of protein, but I’m going to touch upon the ones that are most common. Namely, these protein sources are: chicken, some fish, pork, steak, and dairy products.

Although, don’t be fooled. These options are not the only way to get your daily protein intake. In fact, if you’re vegetarian you can’t have a majority of these things, and if you’re vegan you can’t have any. These are simply the protein sources that get you the best bang for your buck. However, whole grains, nuts, legumes, beans, and meat substitutes also contain a decent amount of protein per serving. They simply do not contain as much as meat sources.

For the best bet, eat some meat for protein. If not, protein powder and bread is a great alternative to get in your daily required allotment.

1. Chicken

Chicken is the universal staple protein source of most bodybuilders. It’s easy to cook, it’s chock full of protein, and most cuts are relatively lean. Here’s a rundown of each variation of chicken you can get:

image @ www.images.wisegeek.com
  • Breast — The staple beyond staples. Per ounce, chicken breast contains 40 calories, 0.3g of fat, and 8.5g of protein.
  • Thigh — Chicken thigh is a much fattier piece of meat than chicken breast. Per ounce, chicken thigh contains 60 calories, 3.1g of fat, and 7.5g of protein.
    (source linked here.)
  • Wing — The king of all kings at bars and SuperBowl parties, but not necessarily for muscle gain. Per ounce, chicken wings contains 63 calories, 4.5g of fat, and 5.2g of protein.
    (source linked here.)

Obviously, you get the most protein with chicken breast. However, if your diet allows you to have more fat per day, then sure, have a thigh or wing. You just need more for the same amount of protein as a breast.

2. Pork

Pork is still a relatively lean cut of meat, just not as lean as chicken breast. Pork can also come in various forms, some more common than others. Here’s a rundown of each variation of pork you can get:

image @ www.irp-cdn.multiscreensite.com
  • Pork Chops — The classic cut of pork is the pork chop. Per ounce, a pork chop contains 53 calories, 3g of fat, and 6g of protein.
    (source linked here.)
  • Pork Tenderloin — A good thing to remember is that any cut of meat with “loin” in the name indicates a leaner cut of meat. Per ounce, pork tenderloin contains 40 calories, 1.5g of fat, and 5.8g of protein.
    (source linked here.)
  • Pork Ribs — The closer you get to the bone, the fattier the meat. This holds true for pork chops and pork ribs. If you want something leaner, try center cut. However, one ounce of pork ribs contains 45 calories, 3.3g of fat, and 3.2g of protein.
    (source linked here.)

Again, the closer you get to bone the fattier the meat. Therefore, if you are looking for lean cuts of pork, try center cut pork chops or tenderloin. If you’re tailgating, then try the ribs.

3. Beef

Beef has the reputation of being bad for you, and there’s a good reason behind it. Beef is the fattiest cut of meat that you can buy. There are leaner types of steak, yes, but it’s relatively fatty as compared to other protein sources. Here’s a rundown of each type of beef that you can get:

  • Steak — Steak is one
    image @ www.i.hurimg.com

    of the more popular beef choices. Per ounce, steak contains 55 calories, 3.3g of fat, and 6g of protein.
    (source linked here.)

  • Chuck (80/20) — Ground chuck (80/20) is probably the most popular choice when making hamburgers. The fat to meat ratio is pretty spot on for burgers, but not so much for meeting your lean protein quota. Per ounce, ground chuck contains 70 calories, 4g of fat, and 7g of protein.
    (source linked here.)
  • Lean Ground Beef (96/4) — Lean ground beef is probably the best choice when trying for lean beef sources. It makes slightly subpar burgers as compared to the 80/20 cut, but it’s much better for your waistline. Per ounce, 96/4 ground beef contains 35 calories, 1g of fat, and 6g of protein.
    (source linked here.)

Beef is one of those cuts of meat that can be great or deadly to your fat intake, depending on which you purchase. Always look for “lean” in the label and trim the excess fat to make sure you’re getting as much protein with as little fat as possible!

4. Fish

Fish is very versatile. White fishes, such as tilapia, are much leaner fishes, while salmon and tuna are known to be a bit fattier. Here’s a rundown of the more popular types of fish that you can purchase:

image @ www.us.123rf.com
  • Tilapia — Tilapia is relatively cost effective and lean, and can be purchases fresh or frozen. Per ounce, tilapia contains 27 calories, 0.5g of fat, and 5.7g of protein.
    (source linked here.)
  • Salmon — Another relatively popular fish choice is salmon. Even though it’s a little fattier, salmon contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats, both of which are essential to the diet! Per ounce, salmon contains 50 calories, 2.1g of fat, and 6.8g of protein.
    (source linked here.)
  • Tuna — Whether in steak or sushi form, tuna is delicious and good for you, too! Per ounce, tuna contains 35 calories, 0.9g of fat, and 6.3g of protein.
    (source linked here.)
  • Shrimp — Shrimp is lean and you get so much per serving. Generally speaking, you get up to six little shrimp per ounce. Also per ounce, shrimp contains 40 calories, 0.7g of fat, and 7.7g of protein.
    (source linked here.)
  • Cod — Cod is a less popular white fish than tilapia, but is still beneficial to your diet. Per ounce, cod contains 30 calories, 0.9g of fat, and 4.8g of protein.
    (source linked here.)

The Takeaway

When choosing proteins, you need to pick your battles. Some choices are better than others in terms of protein content, some contain more fat, and some you may not like. Really, the choice is yours. However, leaner cuts of meat generally contain more protein per ounce than fattier protein sources. So if more protein is your thing, opt for chicken breast, white fish, or pork tenderloins. You’ll get the most bang for your protein buck!

The Mechanics of Deadlifting (updated July 2019)

Mechanics of Deadlifting

What is a Deadlift?

The Exercise Overview

A deadlift is a compound power exercise, most commonly used by powerlifters. It engages more muscles during one movement than any other compound lift. This makes it ideal for not only strengthening those muscles, but also is more efficient for those who lift with a time constraint.

image @ www.bodybuilding.com

Deadlifts are also the easiest exercise to lift the heaviest amount of weight with. There are two main reasons why:

  1. The distance between the floor and the top of the movement is relatively small, averaging only a couple of feet. As compared to a squat or bench press, this makes heavier weights much easier to handle.
  2. You really only perform half of the movement. Unlike a squat or bench press where you need to control the bar for the concentric and eccentric part of the lift, gravity takes over for the eccentric half of the deadlift. As soon as you bring the bar a third of the way down after locking out (or reaching the ending point of the exercise), gravity takes over and gets that bar to the ground. You just have to make sure that it doesn’t squash your toes.

Recruited Muscles

The deadlift is primarily a hamstring and glutes movement because the lifter uses his heels as the driving force. However, both the thoracic and lumbar spine are activated at the top of the movement, as is the latissimus dorsi and rear deltoids of the back. In addition, the triceps are recruited when lifting the bar off of the ground. Tricep activation is due to the pushing motion of the lifter relative to the bar — against popular belief, the first movement in a deadlift is pushing the bar off of the ground, not pulling it, to lift it. Therefore, the triceps and not the biceps are utilized to complete the movement.

The Mechanics

image @ www.cdn-mf0.heartyhosting.com

There are two different forms of deadlifting, conventional and sumo, but both have the same core mechanics. The trick to a deadlift is to keep your back relatively straight — no rounding at the top! Your feet should be planted firmly on the ground so that the heels are used as the primary driving force. Any additional pressure at the front of the body will just cause you to fall over.

The deadlift should be one continuous movement. Because of the heavy weight, some individuals have a tendency to lift the legs first and let the bar follow. This puts intense strain on the lumbar spine. Instead, the whole body needs to move as one. Ideally, the bar should travel up the path of your legs and follow the same path back down to the ground. It will make sure you keep control of the bar and prevent your back from being thrown out during the eccentric portion.

Another key component to completing the deadlift is to activate your latissimus dorsi before lifting the bar. Located right at the base of the armpit, the lats are the stabilizing force of the entire upper body. To prevent your back from rounding or your shoulders from slumping forward, pressure is applied to the upper back to keep it rigid. It’s a similar notion to locking your shoulders during a bench press. In order for the upper body to stay put and not ruin the rest of the lift, it needs to be activated. And stay activated until the bar touches the ground again.

The Equipment

A deadlift can be done with no outside equipment. There are some daredevils deadlifting a raw bar with no shoes on, and that’s great for them. However, the heavier the lift the more outside equipment will help. Here are some key tools for optimal deadlifting:

  1. Flat-soled shoes.
    image @ www.rougefitness.com

    Running shoes are bouncy for a reason: they keep half the foot off of the ground. However, since the primary driving force in a deadlift is the foot, the entire sole should remain planted on the ground. This gives the lifter better stability, which ensures a better lift. Powerlifting shoes or even Converse are great picks because they provide ankle mobility and keep the entire foot on the ground. Or any flat-soled shoes work, really. Just leave the running shoes at home.
    Powerlifting shoes can be found here, and Converse can be found here.

  2. Wrist straps.
    image @ www.roguefitness.com

    Lifting an iron bar off of the ground puts a lot of pressure on weak wrists. To avoid this, wrist straps are a great tool. They’re made of a combination of tough fabric and elastic, so one size really does fit every wrist. Wrist straps keep the wrists locked in place and prevent them locking out or bending. In addition, some wrist straps will loop around the wrist and then wrap around the bar to increase grip strength.
    Wrist wraps can be found here.

  3. Lifting chalk. Lifting chalk is messy but effective for those who hate using straps. Also, if you tend to sweat during exercise, chalk will soak up the liquid to prevent slipping grips. When trying to lift heavy barbells, a firm grip is the best grip. Chalk is also applied to the legs when wear shorts to prevent chaffing.
    Lifting chalk can be found here.

Choose Your Best Deadlift

So now you have the knowledge of deadlifting basics and key tools for the best lift. But what stance do you use?

image @ www.peakperformance365.com

Conventional V. Sumo

There are two types of deadlift: conventional and sumo. Conventional is a close stance deadlift where the hands are kept outside of the legs. Sumo is a wide stance deadlift where the hands are kept inside of the legs. Both get the bar off the ground by primarily activating the glutes and hamstrings. However, conventional deadlifts equally target the quadriceps, or the front of the leg. Conversely, sumo deadlifts work the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus and leave the quadriceps virtually untouched.

But Which to Choose?

Choosing your stance is primarily based on your physical build. Typically, individuals with long legs will choose sumo because they can get closer to the bar. Conventional deadlifts, while effective, make it more difficult for taller lifters to get down into the starting position. Similarly, individuals with longer torsos may also choose sumo deadlifts for the same reasons.

If you’re someone with short legs or a short torso, however, you may choose conventional. Having smaller limbs allows more room around the bar while still being able to get the full range of motion during the exercise. Similarly, someone with longer arms may choose conventional deadlifts because their arms are held farther apart. This actually reduces the space between him and the bar, making it easier to complete the movement.

Although, choosing your stance is also based on personal preference. You can learn one way but prefer the other way, or lift heavier, or have a higher repetition range. You can also lift in both stances if you’re indecisive. There really is no wrong way to deadlift. As long as your form is good and your back is not rounded during any part of the movement, deadlift away!

 

How to Maintain Your Exercise Bike in Perfect Condition (updated July 2019)

exercise bike

How often do you carry out maintenance checks for your indoor exercise bike? Note that while wear and tear are normal and unavoidable, its rate can be slowed down to allow for the bike’s longevity. There remain several maintenance routines that you can adopt in ensuring your bike’s longevity and set you on a path towards achieving your much-desired Khloe Kardashian-like abs. For instance, you can consult the manufacturer’s guide or stick to some of the most common daily and weekly spin bike maintenance tips. Here are a few maintenance tips to get you started.

exercise bike
exercise bike

1.    Clean after every use

Ideally, the type of cleaning required of a spin bike is the same regardless of the kind of the bike, especially considering that the cleanup is primarily meant to keep dust and moisture off the bike components and sensors. Remember that during exercise your sweat trickles down to the parts of the bike such as the seat. If you are applying creams or using gel seat covers to make it more comfortable, it is even more important to clean it after every workout. Otherwise, it may become smelly or even dangerous for your health.

Nonetheless, ensure that you get the cleaning procedure right if you are to avoid doing more harm than good to the bike. For instance, only use a damp cloth dipped in soapy water or a non-abrasive cleaning solution. Remember to dry all the cleaned parts of the bike to avoid accumulation of moisture. Most importantly, avoid any petroleum-based solvents during cleaning the bike as they corrode its paint.

2.    Take care of the bottom bracket

The bottom bracket of the spin bike not only supports your weight but is also in constant contact with the exercising ground. Check the surface on which it rests to ensure with the understanding that if it isn’t regularly cleaned, the brackets stand exposed to both dirt and moisture, both of which negatively affect the life and usability of the spin wheel. Therefore, always ensure that the surface on which the spin bike rests is regularly cleaned if you hope to extend the bike’s longevity.

Plus, while cleaning the brackets after every workout may not be a viable option, remember to regularly vacuum or wipe the ground on which it rests often. This prevents the accumulation of dust and dirt particles that eventually find their way into the sensitive components of the bike leading to expensive repairs.

3.    Weekly auditory maintenance checks

The weekly maintenance schedule involves checking out a spin bike’s moving parts and components. Ensure that they are not only in a proper working condition but that they are correctly attached to the bike. During the check, remember that though the bike was designed and tested to withstand the training pressure associated with supporting varying weights of their users and the pressure they exert to its moving parts, it still requires constant evaluation.

Start by testing out the bike’s user mode while paying close attention to any squeaking sounds or vibrations during exercise as any of these is an indicator of an underlying problem. You should also keep out an eye for any unusual uneasiness with the drive chain. Inspect the bike for any loose components, nuts, and bolts. Tighten the loose assemblies such as the frame base, all the pull pin handles, and toe straps as well as the seat.

Note that they don’t necessarily have to be on the verge of sticking out of their attachments to consider tightening them, attend to all the nuts and bolts and movable parts of the bike and ensure that they hold their positions firmly. Nonetheless, consider all other necessary precautions such as over-tightening these parts of the bike to avoid breaking the plastics attachments.

4.    Lubrication and part replacements

There remain some bike inspection areas that you often bypass during your daily maintenance and even forget during a weekly inspection. For instance, what is the last time you checked you bikes lubrication and do you have a constant lubrication schedule? Additionally, apart from just cleaning and drying the brackets, handlebars, and seats, how often do you inspect the condition of the mainframe?

Note that even with constant cleaning, corrosion and rust can still build up in small crevasses in such parts as the leveling feet and other bolt assemblies. Consider placing the spin bike in an upside-down position once in a while, maybe monthly or quarterly, to inspect hard to reach areas for corrosion and rust. You can then use a small wire to rub off corroded pains or remove the rust accumulation from these stretches. This position also makes the oiling and lubrication of the different moving parts of the bike less strenuous.

Alternatively, consider engaging a professional maintenance expert.

Bottom line

It would be a shame to climb up a bike only to have its resistance band snap in the middle of a workout session. You can avoid this by conducting simple inspections on your bike and maintaining it in a proper working condition. Some of these inspections and maintenance routines require no expertise and can be handled by virtually anyone including such cycling enthusiasts as Demi Lovato.

The Best Pull Up Bar Reviewed in 2018 (Updated July 2019)

pull up bar

Introduction to pull up bars

What makes up a great pull up bar? How should an ideal pull up bar be like and what features do you have to look out for? It goes without saying that Pull Up bars offer some of the best exercises for working out the upper body parts. These tools allow you to use your own body weight as the resistance you need for a more muscular upper body. They are cheap and compact and that is why they are a popular home gym equipment.

But just because you are going to spend $20 or less doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be keen on getting the right equipment. Purchasing the right pull up bar could just be the bridge you’ve been dreaming of to get your biceps, chest and back to your ideal shape. Additionally, the right equipment will protect you from injuries or cases of accidents helping you to work out more aggressively without having to worry about breakages.

We care about your fitness journey and that’s why we are going to give you a buying guide for these pull-up bars. We will pinpoint all the vital aspects that the bars should have and for your convenience, we will highlight three of our best Pull Up bars that are supported by outstanding features and hundreds of user reviews.

Buying a Pull Up Bar

There are so many Pull up Bars in the market and this makes choosing one rather difficult. If you are going through this problem, then the following are some of the essential factors that should be on top of your checklist before investing in one particular unit:

Assemblage

A simple bar is definitely much easier to assemble and use but what if you want a more sophisticated and versatile bar? Whatever your choice of pull up bar is, you need to make sure that assembling it isn’t just convenient for you, but also leaves around sufficient space for working out. You have to, for instance, check the clearance left and then check whether the weight supported by the bar is enough for you. This will make sure that you are always comfortable performing your pull-ups for safe and more productive exercises.

Load Capacity

Pull Up Bars use your own weight as a load when working out. A few others allow you to add extra load or weight on your waist while working out. It, therefore, means that the heavier you are the more the weight the bars will have to handle. When purchasing a pull-up bar you have to make sure that its load capacity is enough for you to use it without worrying about breaking it or suffering other injuries. The average load capacity of most pull up bars is 300lbs and there are a few other bars that support more than that.

Versatility

There are pull up bars that are designed for just one purpose while others are uniquely made with additional accessories that allow you to perform other workouts. If you wish for a more wholesome result then you should purchase a versatile pull bar that will work out different muscles within your body. Of course with such a bar you should expect to spend a bit more but in the end, the exercise options are absolutely worth the extra cash.

Permanent or Removable

Some pull up bars can be mounted, used and then removed while others will need you to dedicate a special space where you’ll mount them permanently. If you have sufficient room then getting a permanent bar isn’t a bad idea but if you are limited on space then you are better off getting a removable pull-up bar.

Types of Pull Up Bar

The final aspect that you have to look into is the type of pull up bar. This is a personal decision because you are in the best position to know which pull up bar will work best for you and whether your home set up can support it. In the end, however, whichever bar you choose will deliver the needed results if you use it correctly.

The various types of pull up bars to choose from include:

  • Doorway Pull Up Bars

Doorway Pull Up bars are one of the most popular bars because they are affordable and very easy to use.  They are also highly portable allowing you to carry and use them anywhere. It’s also a good option for individuals operating on limited workout space. You can easily mount it in the morning and do your pull-ups for an hour or so and then put it away without any problems.

The most prominent issue with doorway pull up bars is they sometimes tend to be unstable. They will, therefore, require you to master your body movement controls and this is viewed by some people as an advantage.

In this category, our best pick is the:

Pro Fit Iron Gym Xtreme

This is a versatile piece of equipment that allows users to perform abdominal exercises, chin-ups, and pull-ups from multiple positions. You can also remove it from the doorway and place it on the ground where you’ll be able to work out on your biceps, triceps and other abdominal muscles.

Another incredible thing about this bar is its heavy duty build. This allows heavy users to comfortably workout on it without breakdowns. Its durable nature also enables users to go hard on the bar for faster results without getting any injuries.

Installing this bar on your doorframe shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. You won’t need to drill holes on your door and neither will you have to deal with screws and bolts. This bar is secured in place using its curved side with the leverage bar sitting along the sides of the door frame.

Pros

  • Versatile enough for total body workout
  • Easy to install
  • Affordable
  • Accommodates hammer grip pull-ups

 

Wall Mounted Pull Bars

Wall mounted pull up bars are the most stable and their huge weight capacity and flexibility allows users to perform a full range of motions. In some cases, these bars will even leave space for L-sit position workouts. You can also exercise with your legs on the bar and they don’t have to be bent at the knee joint.

Wall mounted bars can either be slated or straight at the handle. This determines how firm the grip will be. People usually have different preferences on which of the two is better but most normally love the slated grips because it is a bit firmer. Whichever one you choose they’ll both work out the same muscles and if you want a straight one but you’re concerned about grip then you can easily solve the problem by getting a pair of gloves.

The best pick here is the:

  • Ultimate Body Press Wall Mounted Pull Up Bar

The ultimate body press wall mounted pull up bar has four different grip positions offering various workout positions. With this bar, you can do your pull ups and chin ups through wide, neutral and narrow grips. You will also get a chance to exercise your shoulder and back through hammer grips for a torn upper body.

This bar supports up to 300 pounds and comes packed with abdominal straps and push-up rings that should be used with the bar for ultimate results.

Pros

  • Premium grade build
  • Reliable
  • Offers multiple grip options

Cons

  • May need additional lag bolts for installation which you’ll have to purchase separately

Ultimate Ceiling Mounted Pull Up Bar

This bar is similar to any other wall mounted bar except it is mounted on the ceiling. The Ultimate ceiling mounted pull up bar features a remarkable ergonomic design that’s aimed at keeping your hands and wrists comfortable. This allows you to spend more time on the bar for better results.

It’s a sturdy bar whose stability is reaffirmed by the steel construction which allows users to undertake intensive exercises.

It can be used with both 24-inch and 16-inch ceiling joists. Installing it is very easy and you will also find a vivid user manual on how to set it up.

Pros

  • Ergonomic design
  • Easy to mount
  • utilizes space

Cons

  • It’s quite costly
  • Standing Pull Up Bars

Standing Pull up bars give you an opportunity to take your workouts a notch higher. You can use these bars to exercise outdoors where they provide numerous workout options. These bars are usually costly and that’s why they are mostly used by the professionals.

The best standing pull up bar is the;

Stamina 1690 Power Tower

The Stamina 1690 Power Tower is built with sturdy steel from which you can perform sit-ups, dips, push-ups, and pull-ups. The equipment weighs just 54 pounds which is capable of supporting users weighing around 300 pounds. It’s also a compact device measuring around 4 by 4 feet which should easily fit within your garage.

The grips and handles are covered with foam that enhances your grip while also keeping your hands comfortable and free from blisters. The device comes with end caps that prevent the tower from wobbling or slipping. These caps can work with any type of floor and this allows you to use the Stamina Tower almost anywhere in or outside the house.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Usable on any surface
  • Offers multiple workout options

Conclusion on pull up bars

Getting the right pull up bar could just be what your body needs to finally achieve your dream physique. These bars can supplement your daily gym sessions and you can conveniently use them from home and get the best results. The above bars are the best picks that offer everything in terms of performance and ergonomics and that’s why they are recommended.

Fasted Cardio (updated July 2019)

What is Fasted Cardio?

image @ www.drinkcocopro.com

More than likely, you’ve heard of someone performing fasted cardio. Simply put, fasted cardio is performing cardiovascular exercise without eating first. Studies show that this type of morning cardio burns up to 20% more fat than performing cardio after eating. Because of this, fasted cardio is considered the king of cardiovascular exercises. Especially among gym newbies.

Why Does it Burn so Much Fat?

Under normal circumstances, the body requires ATP energy from stored muscle glycogen to perform work. This fuel is taken from dietary carbohydrate — i.e, that cereal you had for breakfast and that sandwich you had for lunch. Those carbohydrates are then broken down into molecules and stored within the muscles. When needed, this muscle glycogen is utilized to perform work.

So what happens when there’s no muscle glycogen to support this work? The body goes to its next available energy source: fat. Especially since fat is normally recruited for aerobic exercise. This is due to the body’s reliance on oxidative phosphorylation. Oxidative phosphorylation produces the most amount of energy per capita — 36ATP, to be exact — and is the most reliant energy source.

So the body’s dependency on fat not only produces the most energy, but also takes stored body fat. So it’s basically a win-win. (source linked here.)

The Benefits of Fasted Cardio

Fasted cardio has many benefits. Most of them revolve around fat loss, especially stubborn fat loss, but that’s not really a bad thing.

Here are a few benefits to fasted cardio:

image @ www.bodybuilding.com
  1. Higher fat burn. This was already discussed, but it doesn’t hurt to bring it up again. Performing cardiovascular exercise while in a fasted state increases fat utilization, which increases fat loss.
  2. Target stubborn fat. For women, trouble areas are the thighs and hips; for men, it’s the lower back and lower abdomen. Sound familiar? Because the body needs a large amount of energy in order to perform work, it’s going to take from the largest stores. Good news for you, it’s normally the stubborn areas that have the most fat. So, logically speaking, the body’s going to take from there. Another win-win for fasted cardio!
  3. It pairs well with caffeine. Caffeine naturally releases fatty acids from their stores and releases them into the bloodstream. Fasted cardio utilizes fat for energy. Having an influx of readily available fatty acids makes it easier for the body to utilize them as fuel. It also makes it easier for you to lose fat. So skip the breakfast before cardio, but not the coffee.

The Negatives of Fasted Cardio

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to fasted cardio. The positives outweigh the negatives, but the negatives still exist. Here are some arguments against fasted cardio.

image @ www.bodybuilding.com
  1. It’s not the key factor in fat loss. Even though fasted cardio burns 20% more calories than other forms of cardio, it’s not the key player in fat loss. Diet is the number one factor in fat loss. Specifically, you need to be in a caloric deficit in order to lose weight. For example, if you burn 300 calories during your morning cardio but eat an excess of 500 calories throughout the day, you’re still over your daily caloric intake. No matter how much cardio you perform, overeating is overeating. Therefore, fasted cardio should supplement a well-rounded diet, not replace one.
  2. It can result in muscle loss. This is undeniably the weaker argument of the two, but it’s still a possibility. If performing too intense of work with too little energy stores, the body will then utilize muscle for energy. However, fasted cardio should be performed at a moderate intensity at most, so this is not a large issue. If you’re concerned about muscle loss, however, then take a scoop of branched chain amino acids or protein powder before your cardio session. It will count toward your daily caloric intake, yes, but will not stop fat utilization.(source linked here.)

The General Takeaway

So you want to begin fasted cardio. That’s great! Just remember that it is a supplement to fat loss, not the total solution. Even though fasted cardio burns up to 20% more fat than cardio after eating, it’s not the number one solution. First and foremost, caloric intake is the key to fat loss. Secondly, a good cardio regimen.

However, there are more benefits to fasted cardio than negatives. So if you’re someone who needs to get up and get their workout in, no sweat. Just drink some coffee or pre-workout and hit that treadmill.

Fierce 5 Beginner workout Routine (updated July 2019)

Fierce workout Routine

What is Fierce 5?

Fierce 5 is comprised of 5 simple workouts (supersets combined) that should take just over an hour to complete including stretching and warmups.This routine is a decent and well-balanced Beginners routine based off a 3×5 workout.  You will be working out 3 nonconsecutive days a week and alternating between workouts A & B. Ex: Mon-A, Tues-Rest, Wed-B, Thur-Rest, Fri-A, Sat-Rest, Sun-Rest, Mon-B…etc. Each week you’ll add 5 lbs to all of your upper body lifts* and 10lbs to all of your lower body lifts.

Any exercise with 3 sets and 5 reps should add 5lbs to the exercise each workout, and any exercise with a rep range  (8-12 for example) should use Linear Periodisation, where once you can do 12 reps, you increase the weight so you can do 8 reps.

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LIGANDROL (LGD-4033)

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Burns Fat
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Remember, don’t workout without taking Whey Protein or other muscle recovery supplements!



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Supplements

Recommended supplements for this workout:

  • Proteins
  • BCAA
  • Carbs
  • Creatine


The Healthiest Protein Powder (updated July 2019)

Healthiest Protein Powder

What is Protein Powder?

Let’s start with the basics. Protein powder is powdered protein concentrate, which can be mixed with water or milk (for an extra dose of protein). It can also be added into baked goods, such as pancakes, waffles, and cakes, to give your favorite sweet treats a significant boost in pure protein.

Protein itself is composed of amino acids, which are essential for building muscle because amino acids are the building blocks of the body’s muscle fibers. When exercising at a high intensity — i.e weight training or strength training — your muscle fibers are physically tearing under the pressure of exercise. The formation of larger muscles, then, comes from the body’s repairing of these muscle fibers. The muscle fibers will interlace over one another to mend the tear, and what are those muscle fibers made out of? Proteins. So without a constant supply of protein shuttled toward the muscles throughout the day, the muscles cannot repair or grow.

image @ www.legionathletics.com

Protein powder is the quickest and easiest way to get protein directly to the muscles

 

after training. While it’s not wholly necessary and whole food sources such as lean meats, poultry, white fishes, and egg whites can be a great alternative to protein powders, these other foods also need to be broken down into the three macronutrients by the body. This breakdown slows the delivery of protein to the muscles. Alternative protein sources may also not be complete protein sources, or contain the full amount of amino acids the body needs to repair and grow muscle tissue. So while they will provide some benefit, they may not provide all of it. This can hinder muscle growth, even when you’re technically eating a good amount of protein per day.

Are There Better Protein Powders?

While there are no inherently bad protein powders, there are some that are better than others. Whey protein powders are milk-based proteins and have the quickest absorption rate of any type of protein, period. (This includes whole food sources and other forms of protein powders, such as pea and soy proteins.) The body absorbs 100% of whey proteins because it is a whole protein source or, again, it contains all the essential amino acids needed to repair and grow muscles.

When choosing a whey protein, always go for the isolate or concentrate. Whey

image @ www.legionathletics.com

Protein Isolates and Concentrates are specifically isolated whey proteins that are fast digesting and can be quickly broken down by the body.

Alternatively, whey protein blends, such as casein, are slow-digesting proteins that can take the body up to eight hours to completely break down. Casein proteins are better for bedtime, so that your body does not go into a catabolic state while you’re resting, but are awful directly after a workout. However, because casein proteins are still whey-based, they have the same high absorption rate by the body but at a much slower rate.

Other Components of Protein Powder

So what makes protein powder “healthy”?

Simply, it’s a clean protein source. Whey protein powders contain roughly 24g of protein per serving, which is more than a decent piece of chicken. It also has less than four grams of carbs per serving — although the typical serving has about 1-2g — and less than or equal to two grams of fat. This is also why whey proteins have such a great absorption rate: not only is it pure protein, but the body has no other components to break down. Instead, it can quickly be sent to the muscles that are in desperate need of growth and repair.

However, you shouldn’t ingest straight protein powder. The consistency ranges from grainy to pillowy soft powder, depending on the variety you purchase. (Imagine trying to swallow a mouthful of cinnamon.) Instead, protein powders can be mixed with water — the healthiest option! — or with milk for a quick, easy, and efficient post-workout shake. It’s claimed that protein should be consumed within thirty minutes to an hour of training, because that’s when the muscles are in highest need of a protein source for tissue repair.

image @ www.dailyburn.com

Alternatively, protein powders can be baked into goods by mixing into wet batters, such as pancakes, waffles, and cakes. However, this move is a bit riskier. Even though whey protein does have a high absorption rate, mixing the protein powder with other whole food sources, sugars, and liquids can delay when the body breaks the protein down. Remember, the body breaks down foods in the order of: fats, proteins, fiber, and then carbohydrates. If you’re mixing your proteins with your fats, the proteins will have to wait their turn.

The Absolute Healthiest Option

image @ www.ebayimg.com

For the most efficient and healthiest dose of protein, buy a tub of Whey Protein Isolate

or Concentrate from your local supplement store or online. Take one to two scoops — the maximum amount of protein the body can absorb at one time is still unknown, but men typically need more per day than women — and mix with water. Consume within an hour after training for maximum efficiency. And for taste? Your safest bet is always chocolate flavored whey.

How to Improve Your Big Lifts (updated July 2019)

What Are the “Big Lifts”?

The Big Four

image @ www.birthorderplus.com

The “big four lifts” refer to compound movements. These exercises are generally accepted to be the deadlift, squat, bench press, and overhead press (OHP) because they recruit the most muscle groups. While other lifts are also considered compound movements, they do not recruit as many muscle groups as the big four. Other forms of compound movements include exercises such as: lateral pulldowns, barbell rows, push-ups, etc.

Typically, weight lifters will utilize these four main lifts the most. They can improve multiple muscle groups at one time while also improving the lift overall. In addition, working one main four exercise can help to improve some others. For example, training your deadlift helps to improve your squat. This occurs because the hamstrings are recruited in both scenarios. Likewise, perfecting your bench improves your overhead press because both develop the anterior deltoid.

How do I Pick Which to Do?

Really, anyone can train the big four lifts. In fact, performing a compound movement is actually more beneficial for fat burn than isolation movements. This is because the metabolism speeds up with greater muscle density; muscle burns more calories per day than fat does. Compound movements activate more muscle groups, which, in turn, increases muscle density. You’ll become a fat burning machine!

However, a word of caution before embarking on the big four lifts. These lifts are compound and powerful for a reason. It is imperative to nail the form for each one before increasing weight. Having improper form for any exercise can result in serious injury. This warning increases tenfold with compound lifts, however, because of how much more demanding they are. Ask a friend or colleague to demonstrate the proper form for you before beginning! After that, you’re home free.

How to Increase the Big Four Lifts

image @ www.images.shape.mdpcdn.com

So you wanna train hard and lift heavy, huh? Good for you! Big lifting is not only more beneficial to the metabolism and the body’s muscle density, but they’re also lots of fun. Who doesn’t like throwing around some heavy weights in the gym every now and again?

There are a few key ways to improving your big four lifts, whether you’re primarily training the lower or upper body exercises. They include:

1. Proper Programming

It goes without saying, but having a solid program in place is the most beneficial way to increase your big four lifts. Proper programming refers to something either you or a paid coach has written (or a fitness friend, who knows?). This program generally lasts over the span of about six to eight weeks. This time frame gives the trainee (i.e, you) ample amount of time to work upon and improve his lifts.

Your programming should also reflect future strength gains. If your program only has you increasing your big lifts by five pounds every few weeks, then it’s not a solid program. With proper guidance, you should be increasing by either one repetition or five pounds every time you perform the exercise.

Now, there can be outside factors that affect these numbers. But generally speaking, you should be increasing by either five pounds or one rep each week. You should also not perform the exercise for strength — or high weight with a rep scheme of 4-6 repetitions — more than once a week. The same holds true for power training, or repetition sets of 1-3 reps.

2. Proper Recovery

Whether in-between sets or in-between days, you need to give your body the recovery it deserves. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • foam rolling / myofascial release
  • trigger therapy
  • massages (regular or deep tissue)
  • sleep
  • stretching
  • yoga
  • ice baths, hot tubs, and/or saunas
image @ www.rocktape.com

Any one of these recovery practices emphasize releasing the tension from the muscle. This reduces the stress placed on it and allows it to fully heal. And since muscle growth is the healing of muscle tissue, recovery becomes just as important as exercising.

In addition, program your training days well enough so that there are no conflicts with muscle groups. For example, do not train lower body two days in a row, or even over the course of three days. While performing heavy lifts, the muscles are under greater stress than isolation movements. Therefore, they need greater time for recovery in between training days. Aim for three or more days in between big lifts. This time frame gives your muscles ample time to recover before being fired again.

3. Accessory / Isolation Work

What good is an underdeveloped muscle group? If the muscle is underdeveloped, it cannot function properly. Likewise, if one muscle group is lagging another will compensate for it. This puts unnecessary pressure on the developed muscle, while the underdeveloped muscle does no work. In the end, both are injured and your lifts suffer.

The answer to this dilemma is accessory work. Accessory and/or isolation work is directly targeting the muscle. This forces that one particular muscle under constant stress, instead of being integrated with other muscles in a compound lift. For lagging muscles, this tunes them up without overdeveloping surrounding muscles. You can also directly target supporting muscles to the big four lifts, which will help increase them in the long run.

4. Hypertrophy Days

Hypertrophy refers to increasing the size of the muscle tissue. Hypertrophy lifts follow a repetition scheme of 8-10 reps per set. This repetition range adds just enough stress to tear the muscle while also making sure the weight can be heavier than lighter load days.

Hypertrophy days should be very similar to strength days in terms of exercise choice. However, the weight and repetitions change to support muscle growth instead of strength growth. This will not only help you to practice your form, but will also help develop all the working muscles of that exercise.

Hypertrophy days should be about three days or more apart from strength days. Or, they should change week by week: one week train for strength, one for hypertrophy. This latter tactic will take longer for strength development, but can still help to improve the lift.

image @ www.52bpijddwt-flywheel.netdna-ssl.com

So if the big four compound lifts are in your future, remember these key points. Nothing will increase your strength better than proper programming, isolation work, hypertrophy work, and proper rest and recovery!

How to Properly Cool Down After a Workout (updated July 2019)

How to Properly Cool Down After a Workout?

 

We all want to have a healthy and good-looking body. There sure are a lot of ways to achieve that kind of body. You can either eat healthy foods, maintain an active lifestyle, or perhaps just workout. All of those are effective ways to have the ideal body, but probably the best one if to hit the gym and workout.Not only does it help improve your cardiovascular health, but it also improves your overall physicality. That’s what’s great about working out. However, it’s not just about working out. When you’re into it, you also need to exercise the proper cool down method for best results.

That’s just what we’re going to talk about in this article. So how to properly cool down after a workout? Read on to know more about it!

 

But why do you need to cool down?

 

  1. Breathing and Heart Rates Goes Back to Normal

 

Before we proceed in knowing how you can cool down properly, it’s first important to know why you need to do it in the first place. There are a lot of reasons to that. However, one of the first things to know is that it brings your body back to normal.It does this by controlling your breathing and heart rate and makes it less active. It’s through this that you’ll feel more comfortable. It puts an end to your struggle in pushing your body to the limit.

 

  1. Avoid Getting Dizzy or Fainting

 

By cooling your body down, you’re also reducing the likelihood of fainting or getting dizzy. This is because your body doesn’t experience a sudden change in situation. When you’re working out, you exert effort using your muscles and bones. And that gives your body stress and it stays that way for quite some time until you finish working out.When you’re done, your body abruptly transitions into a more relaxed state. That abrupt transition is not recommended as it surprises your body into experiencing the “extremes”. And it’s in those extremes that you’re likely to get dizzy or worse, faint.

 

  1. Proper Preparation

Another cool thing about proper cool down is that it prepares your body for your next workout session. This happens because your muscles need to be conditioned for your next session as early as possible. And the earliest time possible is right after your working out. By simply cooling down, you’re making sure that the pressure and stress your muscles experience reduces gradually. This strengthens them and reduces the wear and tear that it’s likely to have if you don’t properly cool down.

 

  1. Flushes Out Waste Products

 

Lactic Acid is one of the most common waste products that is produced when you’re doing a physical activity. This is most common among gym enthusiasts because of the higher than average pressure and stress their body experiences. By flushing it out, you’re making your body lighter and healthier.

 

  1. Say Goodbye to Muscle Cramps and Spasms

It’s all about the gradual decrease of pressure and stress that your body benefits a lot from cooling down. By slowly cooling down your body, you’re able to make sure that your muscles aren’t abruptly transitioned into a calmer and less active state. Because if this happens, you’re most likely to experience muscle spasms and cramps which can ultimately lead to injuries.

 

 

Cooldown Tip #1: Lower Down the Intensity

In order for you to properly cool down, the first thing you need to do is to lower the intensity of your workout. Cooling down is not about immediately stopping whatever it is you’re doing. That’s not how your body works because it needs to go through some sort of a transition process. By simply lowering down the intensity of your workout, you’re ensuring that your blood pressure is on its right levels. For example, if you’re running, you can reduce your speed as you slowly transition your run into a jog, and then you’re jog into a walk.

 

Cooldown Tip #2: Rehydrate Yourself

Water is what makes life thrive. And as biological or farfetched as it sounds, that’s the truth that all gym enthusiasts must acknowledge. Rehydrate yourself in order for you to cool down properly.Water plays a vital role in your body’s temperature and various processes. By simply taking in water, you’re able to reduce your body temperature. And not only that, as it adds fluids to your body organs and muscles, making them function properly.

 

Cooldown Tip #3: Do Stretching

Stretching is an essential part of working out for building muscle or lose weight. This is what you need to do not only before but also after exercising. It’s in stretching that your muscles get warmed up. It makes them more elastic and flexible, which helps in reducing the chances of muscle stiffening and spasm.You might have just finished playing basketball. If so, then always do a few basic stretches. Stretch your arm and leg muscles to expedite the recovery process. Then again, it’s still all about the “transition process”.

 

Cooldown Tip #4: Drink Protein Shake

So you’re done drinking water and doing another set of stretches. Now, it’s time for you to drink protein shake. Protein shake replenishes your body with the minerals that water doesn’t have. Now is the perfect time for you to drink it because you lost again a considerable amount of energy with the stretching you’ve previously done. This is also the perfect time to absorb nutrients because your muscles are clamoring for it, knowing that they’ve been through pressure. Aside from those benefits, protein shake brings back the lost energy and it adds a bit of fats you can then again burn for your next workout session.

 

Final Thoughts

 

With all of these being said, you can clearly see how important it is to properly cool down. Though it might sound to have a lot of rules and things to remember, it still boils down to one principle. And that principle is all about the transition process. It’s really simple when you put it that way.

Your body needs enough time to gradually transition from an active state to a more relaxed situation. And that’s what you need to remember. Hopefully, you’ve learned a lot from this article. If so, feel free to share this with your family and friends. You can also ask us questions and we’ll happily get back to you. Till then, all the best of luck.

Author Bio: I’m Tina Howell, chief editor at XBodyNow. I have an in-depth knowledge about gym, fitness, bodybuiding… which are shared with you through my site. My mission is to make you aware about the right exercises, workout plans and nutrition

 

Bowflex PR1000 Review 2018-Pro’s & Con’s (Updated July 2019)

bowflex pr1000

Bowflex PR1000 Overview

Working out is now a necessity thanks to all the junk we consume and our poor lifestyles. We all understand the vast benefits of exercising but some of the biggest challenges of doing so are our busy schedules. How are we supposed to spare two hours for going to the gym and working out and still make it work in time? Secondly, is the absurd cost of most gym memberships. Some gym facilities are honestly very expensive making it increasingly difficult for most people to afford them. So how are we supposed to move forward from this? Should one just give up and continue struggling with controlling their diet? If you are going through any of these challenges then Bowflex have a solution for you and this is in the form of the Bowflex PR1000.

Bowflex understands the massive challenge you have with getting time off your busy schedule and this is why they are providing you with an excellent home equipment and that isn’t even the best part. How much do you think a decent home gym should cost, $1000? Or perhaps more? Well, you couldn’t have been more wrong. The PR1000 comes for less than $500 making it one of the most affordable home gyms you’d ever come across. Of course, at such a low price it’s easy to assume that the quality and overall performance of the equipment is below standards but this is not the case. The PR1000, as you’ll learn, is highly effective which explains the more than 700 positive reviews it has received online. So, what exactly should you expect from this Bowflex Equipment? What are some of the specs that make it so recommendable?

Bowflex PR1000 specifications

Assembly

The last thing you’d want from a home gym equipment is a complex assembling procedure. It’s always ideal for these equipment to be easy to assemble but not all manufacturers adhere to these customer needs. The Bowflex PR1000, fortunately, is extremely easy to set up. There’s even a step-by-step guide included that’ll help you to understand where every piece should go. Generally, the entire process shouldn’t take more than 2 hours and you won’t even need to ask for assistance. The only crucial thing that you’ll need to note when setting it up is the space required. The item is relatively compact measuring just 84” by 38” by 81” but due to the rods used you’ll need to have extra space for a more comfortable experience. During storage, you can collapse it into a more compact size that’s easy to store.

Quality of Construction

Bowflex has a great reputation when it comes to the quality of their products. Since the Bowflex Pr1000 costs less than $500, we were expecting to see a below average or poor construction but we were very wrong. You have to admit that for a machine this cheap the quality is just too incredible to overlook. The mainframe, for instance, is made of a heavy-duty steel capable of withstanding all the intense workouts you’ll be performing on the equipment. All the cables used are also made of high-strength braided steel that doesn’t just give you the resistance you need but also does so in the safest way possible. The high-quality nature of these cables also means that they won’t wear out easily.

It was nice to see that Bowflex didn’t just focus on the quality of construction but they were also keen to make sure that comfort was also prioritized. This is why the seat is reinforced with premium durafirm leather padding that’s extremely comfortable. This seat allows you to work for hours without getting any aches. There is also the back support and soft padded grips. With such an ergonomic design staying on this equipment is bound to be an enjoyable experience.

Exercise Options

It’s always a good idea for a home gym to offer as many exercise options as possible. Remember that you’ll probably be on a tight budget and working with limited space and hence you can’t afford to house more than one equipment. For this reason, you’ll need to have the most versatile equipment that can benefit different muscle groups for a wholesome outcome. Bowflex PR1000 offers more than 30 exercises designed for different muscle groups. With these workouts, your shoulders, chest, back, arms, legs, and abs will all benefit hugely.

Here are some of the exercises that can be performed on the Bowflex PR1000.

  • Bench press
  • Decline bench press
  • Incline bench press
  • Stiff arm pull-down
  • Narrow pull-down
  • Lat pull-down
  • Seated lat rows
  • Seated low back extension
  • Seated shoulder press
  • Scapular retraction
  • Front shoulder raise
  • Seated shoulder press
  • Leg press
  • Leg extension
  • Trunk rotation
  • Seated abs crunch
  • Calf raise seated abs crunch
  • Triceps pushdown
  • Standing wrist curl
  • Seated bicep curl
  • lying triceps extension

One of the best things about the Bowflex PR1000 is the inbuilt rowing machine! Yes, within this equipment you’ll get the rowing machine that helps to offer extra intensity to your cardio and strength training. How often do you find a rowing machine within a $499 home gym equipment? Not often and this is more reason why the Bowflex PR1000 stands out.

For beginners getting the best out of each workout can get difficult. Understanding how every exercise should be performed can also be a challenge. This is why Bowflex provide a free workout guide with easy-to-understand instructions and images showing how various exercises can be performed.

Resistance

Bowflex equipment usually stands out in the market due to the sort of resistance they provide. Most traditional gym equipment uses weight plates and for long we had been made to believe that this was the best type of resistance. Bowflex however, has given experts a reason to think otherwise. This company uses resistance rods which mimic weight plates except they come with more benefits and extra protection to your muscles. Studies have indeed shown us that resistance rods offer more protection to muscles than weight plate. This consequently, means that athletes using this type of resistance will have fewer chances of suffering major injuries. Additionally, according to research by Dr. Jim Stoppani Ph.D., resistance rods provide more functional strength, more muscle power development and improves one’s capability of changing muscle emphasis when working out.

The resistance rods used in the Bowflex PR1000 are durable and come in different thickness which directly reflects on how much resistance you’re getting. When you start working out these rods will be much easier but as you get into the work out the resistance increases intensifying your workout. In total, there are 210lbs of resistance but these have been broken down into pieces of 5lb, 10lb, 30lb and 50lb rods. This means that you’ll be in charge of regulating how much resistance you’re getting.

Bowflex PR1000 Pros

  • Offers over 30 exercises
  • 210lb power rod resistance
  • Foldable for easy storage
  • High-quality construction
  • Affordable
  • Comes with a free workout guide
  • The power rods have 5-year warranty while the frame comes with a 1-year warranty

Cons

  • For advanced lifters, 210lbs of resistance will probably be less than enough and there is no option of upgrading it

 

Conclusion on the Bowflex pr1000

In overall, saying the Bowflex Bowflex PR1000 is a good machine will be a massive understatement. This equipment is a masterpiece that will totally transform your home workouts. It gives you an opportunity to utilize the few hours you get off your busy schedule into working out for better and faster results without leaving your house. The Bowflex PR1000 is an affordable and excellent option that guarantees to take you closer to your fitness dreams.

User Reviews

“One of the rare instances of dealing with Amazon where I received the “real thing”, it actually works the way it describes.” By John Hanlon

“Very sturdy, Bowflex quality. I love his concept.” By Duijisters

“Easy to put together. Good resistance. Good size when folded up.” An Amazon customer

“I love my Bowflex the rods give a smooth flowing workout with great resistance.” Amazon Customer